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Interview: Iraqi VP Adel Abdul Mahdi

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How popular do you think Prime Minister Maliki is these days?

Well, it is not for me to answer this question - it's for the polls.

But that must be part of the political calculation in inviting him into your coalition?

Well if I say he's popular, I'll make publicity for him. If I say he doesn't have popularity, I would be unjust.

Do you think he was hurt politically by the bombings in Baghdad?

Yes, I think so, but he is still a very good candidate and he still has popularity.

How much of a setback were the suicide truck bombings of Aug. 19?

For those of us on the outside, it seemed to indicate there are serious problems with security and serious problems with ministries fighting.

We were always arguing that we still have a security problem, while others were saying that we were finished with that. We thought, we have to see the security issue as attack and counterattack - they [insurgents] had the initiative, they had the control the first three or four years the government took the control, and the initiative starting from the end of 2007, but we should not minimize their action or their power. We should still see that they will find our weaknesses here and there, and that they will hit once again, more attacks. So minimizing their importance was a big mistake, and advocating that everything is now well, that was a false message given to the people. We should have kept institutions on alert, in the security ministries especially, and within the people.

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